Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection, for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection and for the content of the protection granted and amending Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2016) 466 final (13.7.16)
Publication Date 13/07/2016
Content Type

The European Union is working towards an integrated, sustainable and holistic EU migration policy based on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibilities and which can function effectively both in times of calm and crisis. Since the adoption of the European Agenda on Migration, the European Commission has been working to implement measures to address both the immediate and the long-term challenges of managing migration flows effectively and comprehensively.

The Common European Asylum System is based on rules determining the Member State responsible for applicants for international protection (including an asylum fingerprint database), common standards for asylum procedures, reception conditions, recognition and protection of beneficiaries of international protection. In addition, a European Asylum Support Office supports Member States in the implementation of the Common European Asylum System.

Notwithstanding the significant progress that has been made in the development of the Common European Asylum System, there are still notable differences between the Member States in the types of procedures used, the reception conditions provided to applicants, the recognition rates and the type of protection granted to beneficiaries of international protection. These divergences contribute to secondary movements and asylum shopping, create pull factors and ultimately lead to an uneven distribution among the Member States of the responsibility to offer protection to those in need.

Recent large scale arrivals have shown that Europe needs an effective and efficient asylum system able to assure a fair and sustainable sharing of responsibility between Member States, to provide sufficient and decent reception conditions throughout the EU, to process quickly and effectively asylum claims lodged in the EU, and to ensure the quality of the decisions made so that those who are in need of international protection effectively obtain it.

At the same time, the EU needs to address irregular and dangerous movements and to put an end to the business model of smugglers. To this end asylum applications of those who are not entitled to international protection must, on the one hand, be dealt with quickly and these migrants must then be returned quickly. On the other hand, safe and legal ways to the EU for those from third countries who need protection need to be opened. It is also part of a wider partnership with priority countries of origin and transit.

The Qualification Directive sets out criteria for applicants to qualify for asylum and subsidiarity protection, and rights for persons who benefit from these statuses. While the existing recast Qualification Directive has contributed to some level of approximation of the national rules, it appears that recognition rates still vary between Member States and there is equally a lack of convergence as regards decisions on the type of protection status granted by each Member State. In addition, there is a considerable variation among Member States' policies in the duration of the residence permits granted, as well as regards to access to rights.

Moreover, the current provisions on cessation of status are not systematically used in practice, which means that Member States do not always ensure that international protection is granted only for so long as the risk of persecution or serious harm persists, even though EU law provides for this. Finally, some of the rules in the recast Qualification Directive, providing common criteria for recognising applicants, are optional by their nature (i.e. the duty of the applicant to substantiate the application, the rules relating to an assessment of internal protection, optional withdrawal grounds) and allow Member States a wide degree of discretion.

The above differences in recognition rates and in the level of rights in the national asylum systems attached to the protection status concerned provide strong indication of the need for a more harmonised approach. These differences can create incentives for applicants for international protection to claim asylum in Member States where those rights and recognition levels are perceived to be higher than others rather than in the Member State which would be responsible for their applications under the Dublin rules. In addition there is also need to address possible secondary movements of beneficiaries of international protection by clarifying that they are to reside in the Member States which granted them protection.

The absence of checks on the continued need for protection gives the protection a de facto permanent nature, thereby creating an additional incentive for those in need of international protection to come to the EU rather than to seek refuge in other places, including in countries closer to their countries-of-origin.

Given the demonstrated need for harmonisation and the scope of proposed changes, it is proposed to replace the current Directive with a Regulation. Given its direct applicability this change in itself will contribute to further convergence and will ensure coherence with the proposed Asylum Procedures Regulation as well.

See also:
- Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (recast)
- Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a common procedure for international protection in the Union and repealing Directive 2013/32/EU

Source Link
Related Link(s)
ESO: Background information: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy
EUR-Lex: COM(2016)466: Follow the progress of this proposal through the decision-making procedure

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